Ah, dear readers, forgive my long absence. I have been on a month-long road trip adventure with my elderly, blind, and diabetic dog, Tater, into the Southwest. We hit up West Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona – and when I say “hit up,” I’m telling you – we went EVERYWHERE.
I will share a travel journal with you. This journal will be especially interesting, I think, to people who have diabetic dogs – I gained lots of insight into how best to travel under this challenging circumstance. Ohhhh, and just you wait – I have so much food to tell you about. The chiles, oh, the chiles!
Now, on to my first post in a long time – and this is an exciting one [and get this – even though this restaurant will be in downtown Wilmington – it will have an adjacent PARKING LOT. As you know, lovely gastronomes, GOOD PARKING MATTERS:
Chef Sunny Gerhart, the owner of Raleigh’s award-winning St. Roch Fine Oysters & Bar and 2022 James Beard Foundation semifinalist for “Best Chef Southeast,” announces his second restaurant – Olivero – set to open in downtown Wilmington, NC later this year. “We’ve worked really hard to create something original here at St. Roch, and now I’m excited to do that in Wilmington, a city I’ve always loved and felt connected to,” said Gerhart, who lived nearby in high school and again later at a formative time in his culinary career.
At Olivero, Gerhart will pay homage to his mother’s family and specifically to their Spanish and Italian influence on his own New Orleans cuisine. Named for Gerhart’s maternal great grandfather, Jose Olivero, a Spanish sailor who immigrated to New Orleans by ship from Seville and married into an Italian family, Olivero is well suited for the cobblestone streets in this historic port city.
“While entirely new, Olivero is related to St. Roch,” explains Gerhart, “in the sense of how I approach New Orleans cuisine through the lens of its many immigrant and cultural influences. Both the Spanish and Italians had a huge influence on what we consider to be New Orleans cuisine today. Olivero is a new New Orleans chapter for me – a chance to explore more of my family’s immigrant history and the dishes and ingredients they brought from Spain and Italy to my city.”
Gerhart will once again channel the spirit of his native New Orleans through North Carolina ingredients, just as he is known for doing at his award-winning St. Roch. At Olivero, he’ll serve Spanish influenced dishes alongside rich house made pastas, and local fish, meat and vegetables.
The 2400-square foot restaurant owned by James Goodnight will be located at 522 South 3rd Street. Mauer Architecture and Old School Rebuilders are completing the renovation. Gerhart tapped nationally renowned interior designer Jamie Meares of Furbish Studio and Kilt Creative to infuse the space with Gerhart’s personal story, just as they did at St. Roch. 60 seats are planned as well as an adjacent parking lot.
“I’m so excited to be finally be back in Wilmington with food that’s so important to me and my family history.”